Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Post-Oscar Diatribe

ClassicBecky wrote a post-Oscar critique of the ceremony that has sparked a great discussion. I'm sure many other bloggers are doing the same thing, and I just can't help myself but follow-up my comment on ClassicBecky (it was getting too long as a comment on her excellent blog).

Yes, this is perhaps the worst Oscars show I've ever seen ... and I haven't missed a full telecast since 1978. But in retrospect, is anyone surprised by this year's bland, poorly conceived and direction-less telecast?

Because it's the perfect reflection of today's Hollywood, in which movies are based on action figures, comic books, past films or movie poster taglines rather than well-thought-out stories and characters.

It's the equivalent to painting by numbers on black velvet.

Think about it: The producers of the show (or whoever was in charge) hire two "young" hosts without developing any young or hip themes for the telecast or giving them any material to work with.

As Kevin from Kevin's Movie Corner stated, they pay tribute without putting any meaningful thought into it. The best song/score montages that felt like someone spent five minutes on them and decided that in order to be "hip," most selections could not be older than 20 years. The "tribute" to past Oscar-winners was bizarrely presented (the burning of Atlanta projected on a disjointed backdrop -- what was that about?). Don't get me started on the cookie-cutter dead celebs montage with the celebrity singer and the laughable "tribute" to the special award winners whose years of great work is reduced to a televised afterthought, with no emotional weight given to either.

And they have a competition for school kids to sing at the end of the show without connecting it thematically to anything, as if this was either "young and hip" or some nod to reality TV (Let's put on a contest! We'll get kids so this can reach the under 12 demographic and then show them at 10:45... which is past their bedtime!).

No other Oscar telecast in recent memory has implemented more "concepts" with such dullness.

As a classic movie blogger, a life-long movie fan and a perennial Oscar watcher (I've watched 33 consecutive Oscar telecasts), I deserve more and I demand more respect from an Academy that clearly underestimates my intelligence and capability to enjoy a well-thought-out awards show. Everyone will argue the merits of what winners were deserving and who was overlooked, what speeches were great and who put you to sleep, what fashions were eye-popping and who laid and egg. But putting together a high-quality Oscars telecast cannot be that difficult.

But this is Hollywood today folks -- not only are the people botoxed and face-lifted to a plastic state that barely registers emotion but so are the movies. And now the Oscars telecast.

Here's a story about the state of Hollywood by Mark Harris, former editor of Entertainment Weekly. Read it now!


  1. Thanks so much for mentioning my post in such a complimentary way...I loved your comment! You have hit the nail right on the head about the telecast as a whole. Giving young people the opportunity to host and then not guiding them in any way, apparently, about being funny without being juvenile, being dignified without being stodgy -- it looked like someone just threw them out there. Well, I think Franco was just a bust altogether. He could have had Steinbeck writing his lines and he would have been just as stoned/bored. I mentioned in a comment on my blog that in thinking about it, Anne Hathaway could have been good, but she was desperately trying to hold up Franco and was reduced to too much chirpy behavior.

    I was so incensed about the "tribute" -- insulting, very much a sign of the times when only what appears ON the screen is considered to be the only thing that creates a movie. I too have watched the Oscars every year since I was about 12, only missed maybe 2, and I feel like you -- I deserve better than bad painting on black velvet. I'm afraid it showcases the dumbing down of America in yet another way.

    Loved your take on this year!

  2. Excellent post and better than I could have said it. I think there will be much heated discussion at the Academy's Board of Governors over the next year. I just hope it will result in next year being a terrific show.

  3. Thank you, Becky and Kevin. We are not the only ones saying this. My coworkers talked about how bad it was. Hopefully you are right, Kevin, and that someone will take note of the criticism and do something right next year.